Saturday, February 17, 2007

PCG Andrade - West

At the New York Open 1997, I played an exciting game in the Philidor Counter Gambit against a FIDE rated player named Waldemiro Andrade from Brazil.

It took place in round 3, on March 30th, at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan.

Waldemiro Andrade (FIDE 2285) - JimWest (FIDE 2210), New York Open 1997

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4

In round one of the same event, FM Ron Burnett varied with 3.Nc3 f5 4.exf5. Now Black's best continuation would have been 4...Bxf5 5.d4 e4 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Nh4 Qd7 8.Nxf5 Qxf5. Instead the game proceeded 4...Nf6!? 5.d4 e4 6.Nh4 Be7 7.Bg5 d5 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.Qh5+ Ke7 10.g4 (10.g3!) c6 11.O-O-O Qe8 12.Qxe8+ Kxe8 13.Ng2 h5 14.Be2 hxg4 15.Ne3 Bg5 16.Bxg4 g6 17.h4 Bxe3+ 18.fxe3 gxf5 19.Bh3 Na6 20.Ne2 Kf7 21.Nf4 Bd7 22.Rdg1 Rag8 with an unclear position.

3...f5 4.Nc3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Ng3

Sharper is the Zukertort Attack 6.Nxe5 dxe4 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Nxg6. Now my game against candidate master John Mather at the Hamilton NJ quads in April 1997 went 8...hxg6 9.Qxg6+ Kd7 10.Qf5+ Ke8 11.Qg6+ Kd7 12.Qf5+ Ke8 13.Qe5+ Be6 14.Qxh8

Nc6 (14...Nd7!?) 15.c3 Qd5 (better 15...Qd7) 16.Be2 Kd7 17.Qh5 Qd6 18.Bg5?! (18.Qh7+!) Nce7 19.Bg4 Kc6 20.Bxe6 Qxe6 21.Bxe7 Bxe7 22.Qe2 Nf6 23.O-O Rh8 24.c4 Kd7 25.h3 Bd6 26.f3 e3 27.f4 Qe4 28.Rf3 Re8 29.g3 Bb4 30.d5 Bd2 31.Rd1 Qc2 32.Kg2 Qxb2 33.g4 Qb4 34.g5 Ne4 35.h4? Nc3, 0-1. Alternatively the game Arno Nolting (USCF 2178) - Jim West (USCF 2216), played at the Manhattan Chess Club in September 1997, followed with 8...Nf6 9.Qe5+ Kf7 10.Nxh8+ Kg7 11.Bg5

Nc6 (11...Nbd7!?) 12.Bxf6+ Qxf6 13.Qxf6+ Kxf6 14.Bc4 Na5 15.Bd5 Bf5 16.f3 e3 17.g4, and now 17...Bxc2 would have been unclear.

6...e4 7.Ne5 Nf6 8.Be2

A different plan was seen in Mauricio Camejo (USCF 2118) - Jim West (USCF 2227) at the Somerset NJ quads in November 1997: 8.f3 Bd6 9.c4 O-O 10.cxd5 Nbd7 11.f4 Nb6 12.Qc2 (12.Be2!?) Bb4+ 13.Bd2 Bxd2+ 14.Qxd2 Nfxd5 15.Nxe4 Rxf4 16.Ng3 Qf8 17.Be2 Qb4 18.O-O-O Qxd2+ 19.Rxd2 Be6 with an equal position that resulted in an 82-move draw.

8...Bd6 9.O-O O-O 10.Bg5

At the Manhattan Chess Club in November 1997, national master Jerry Simon tried 10.c4, and now 10...c6 would have been Black's safest reply.


Less risky is 10...Qe8 11.f3 Nc6 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.fxe4 Bxg3 14.Bxf6 Rxf6 15.Rxf6 gxf6 16.hxg3 Qxe4 17.Kh2 Rb8 18.b3 Bf5 19.Bd3 Qg4 20.Qxg4+ Bxg4 with an equal game.

11.Ng4! cxd4 12.Nxf6+ gxf6 13.Bh6 Nc6! 14.Bxf8 Qxf8 15.Bb5 Be5 16.f4 Bc7 17.Qh5 Qf7

The tempting 17...Qc5? would lead to catastrophe after 18.Nxe4! Qxb5 19.Nxf6+.


I felt that Black would have good compensation in the queenless middlegame after 18.Qxf7+ Kxf7 19.Rad1 a6 20.Ba4 f5 21.Ne2 b5 22.Bb3 Be6 23.Kh1 Bb6.

18...Bd7 19.Rad1 Kh8 20.Kh1 Bb6 21.Ne2 Rg8 22.f5

Black would also have compensation after 22.Bxc6 bxc6 23.Nxd4 Qg7 24.Rg1 f5 25.c3 c5.

22...Rg5 23.g4

Another line in which Black has adequate compensation could have occurred after 23.Bxc6 bxc6 24.Nxd4 Bxd4 25.Rxd4 Rxf5.

23...Ne5! 24.Bxd7 Qxd7 25.h3 d3 26.Nf4 Be3 27.Ng6+ Rxg6!

I did not like the looks of 27...Nxg6 28.fxg6 dxc2 29.Rde1 c1=Q 30.Rxc1 Bxc1 31.Rxf6! Rxg6 32.Rxg6 Bxb2 33.Rh6 when White's pieces are far more active than in the game continuation.

28.fxg6 Bg5 29.Qh5 e3!?

If Black wants to preserve winning chances, he might try 29...Nxg6! 30.cxd3 e3 with the idea of ...Nf4. But not 29...dxc2?? 30.Rxd5! winning.

30.Rxd3! Nxd3 31.cxd3 d4 32.Qxh7+??

As so often happens in the PCG, White can not accept the fact that there is no win and self-destructs psychologically. Correct is either 32.Rc1! h6 33.h4 Qd5+ 34.Kg1 Qd6! 35.Kg2 Qd5+ 36.Kg3 Qd6+ 37.Kh3 Qf4! 38.g7+ Kxg7 39.hxg5 Qf3+ 40.Kh2 Qf2+, etc. or 32.h4 e2 33.Re1 Qd5+ 34.Kg1 Be3+ 35.Kh2 Bf4+, etc.

32...Qxh7 33.gxh7 Bh4!, White resigns.

White must give up his rook for Black's e-pawn when it queens.

In closing, I would like to mention that a review of my book The Dynamic Philidor Counter-Gambit by international master Jeremy Silman can be found on the Internet. Silman corrects an oversight in my analysis in the variation 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.e6 Nh6 7.Nc3 c6 8.Ngxe4 dxe4 9.Qh5+ g6 10.Qe5 Rg8 11.Bg5 Bg7 12.e7 Qd2+ 13.Kxd2 Bxe5 14.Bxh6 g5 15.h4 gxh4 16.Rxh4 Rg6 17.Bf8 Rd6+ 18.Ke3 Bxc3 19.bxc3 Bf5 20.Be2 Nd7 21.Bh5+ Bg6 22.Bxg6+ Rxg6 23.g3 Rf6 24.Rxh7 Rf3+ 25.Kxe4 Rxf2 26.Rh8.

Here I gave 26...Kf7, but Silman found 27.Ke3 Rf5 (27...Rxc2 28.Rf1+ Kg6 29.Bg7!) 28.Rd1! winning after:

a) 28...Nf6 29.Rd8.

b) 28...Rd5 29.Rxd5.

c) 28...Nxf8 29.Rd8! Re5+ 30.Kf2.

d) 28...Re5+ 29.Kf4.

He neglects to mention that 28...Ke6 would fail to 29.Rd6+! Kxd6 30.e8=Q+ Rxf8 31.Qxa8 Rxa8 32.Rxa8.

So it appears that 26...Kf7 is faulty. Instead Black must try to hold the rook-and-pawn ending after 26...Nxf8 27.exf8=Q+ Rxf8 28.Rah1! Ke7 29.R1h7+ Ke6 30.Rxf8 Rxf8 31.Rxb7 Rg8 32.Kf3 Rf8+ 33.Kg2 Rd8* 34.Rxa7 Rd2+ 35.Kf3 Rxc2 36.Ra3. White's task is made more difficult by the fact that if his king abandons the g-pawn to Black's rook, the RP and BP ending may be drawn (even without Black's c-pawn in many circumstances).

A more favorable review of my book by Virginia master Macon Shibut, who has played the PCG himself on occasion, can also be found in Virginia Chess Newsletter. However, both reviews make one criticism in common. Silman writes: "There is very little explanatory prose. This means that tactical ideas, plans, and assessments have been largely ignored (aside from the usual Informant style codes). A strong player will have no problem understanding the tactical ideas inherent in this system, but non-masters will not be able to learn much; it's either memorize endless reams of moves of fall by wayside in confusion." Shibut, in discussing an explanatory comment from my article on the PCG in the March-April 1997 issue of Atlantic Chess News, observes: "That one note, incidentally, is about 2 1/4 sentences more loquacious than the longest remark in The Dynamic Philidor Counter-Gambit." Consequently, I have tried in this article to be a little more verbose than usual. But, frankly speaking, there are variations in this opening that are so complicated that even I don't know how to explain them in words!

{This article originally appeared in the November-December 1997 issue of Atlantic Chess News}

*Since the original publication of this article, I have discovered 33...a5! 34.Rb6 Kd6 35.Ra6 Rf5 with the idea of 36...Rc5 giving Black good drawing chances. After Silman's other suggestion 17.Bf4 Bxc3+ 18.Kxc3, better than 18...Rg7 (as given in my book) is 18...Nd7! 19.Rxh7 Nf6 20.Rh8+ Kxe7 21.Bh2 b6 22.Re1 Bb7 23.Rh4 c5 24.f3 Rag8 25.fxe4 Rg4 26.Rxg4 Rxg4 with sufficient compensation for the two pawns.